Saturday, May 26, 2018

Bibliography - GOP and Trump's Attacks on USA's Democratic Principles and Institutions

Democracy Under Trump: What Is Being Lost?

It's been a while since I've posted, partly because I'm now quite busy and preoccupied with jobs, but also because I'm in a funk of disappointment.  What's the point of stealing the time and putting in the effort, when there's nobody out there?
Along with that, the malicious recall effort against Gwen Lachelt fell short, but was given two extra weeks to make up the difference, which they managed to do.  That they so easily gained over 2000 signatures in those extra two weeks reflects the Democratic Party's continued inability to invigorate their voters, or to effectively confront the deluge of deliberate and ruthless, amoral deception that was the hallmark of the so-called Save La Plata County's anti-democratic con-job.
While on the national scene Democrats remain as timid and tongue tied as ever, all very depressing.  Trump's bullies, the alt-right and evangelicals and oligarchs are relentlessly inflicting brutal damage on our democratic principles and ways of government.  Not to mention our EPA being eviscerated by the teflon plated Pruitt.

I guess I'm old fashioned, I believe patriotism demands action when our nation is in danger, and even if my actions are futile, they're better than rolling over and pretending our democracy isn't in the middle of a fierce existential crisis and that we stand on the cusp of losing our democracy to ruthless special interests.  A situation demanding all hands on deck, if there's to be any hope of turning back the tide!  If there's anyone out there with the same feeling, please let me know, the one hand clapping is getting old.

In any event this post is dedicated to sharing a bibliography of articles that discuss different aspects of trump's attack on our democracy.  This is the sort of background knowledge we need to learn about and to share with others.  Raising awareness and encouraging involvement is our only hope.  Following this list I've gone on to include key quotes from the articles as an introduction and hopefully encouragement for you to follow the links to the complete articles.  It is by no means a complete, but its a good start.

     May 27, 2018 - By Lauren Strayer, Democracy Fund
     May 22, 2018 - By Travis Gettys, Raw Story
     May 16, 2018 - By Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer
     April 25, 2018 - Jay Rosen, New York Book Review
     April 13, 2018 - Evan McMullin, The Atlantic
     April 4, 2018 - by Darrell M. West and Jack Karsten, Brookings Institution
     April 3, 2018 - Cass R. Sunstein, Bloomberg View 
     February 23, 2018 - By John Shattuck, American Prospect
     February 15, 2018 - John Shattuck, Amanda Watson, Matthew McDole
     February 8, 2018 - Congressman Ted Lieu
     February 8, 2018 - Bright Line Watch, Survey-Wave 4
     February 6, 2018 - By Michael Finnegan, L.A. Times
     February 3, 2017 - Rob Wijnberg, The Correspondent 
     January 1, 2018 - By Jeffrey H. Smith, Lawfare
     January 27, 2018 - Jill Abramson, The Guardian
     January 18, 2018 - Protect Democracy
           {Ensuring the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”}
     January 16, 2018 - Tracey Lee, Newsweek
     January 16, 2018 - By Zachary Cohen, CNN
     January 3, 2018 - Gary Grappo, Fair Observer
Art of the Lie - The tally after one year

     December 29, 2017 - By Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker
     December 12, 2017 - Daily Kos
     December 7, 2017 - By Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt , The New Republic
     December 6, 2017 - By Scott Bolden, The Hill
     November 30, 2017 - By Thomas B. Edsall, The New York Times
     November 10, 2017 - Brian Klass, The Hill
     September 6, 2017 - Carnegie Endowment
     September 5, 2017 - By Dr. Benjamin Knoll, Ph.D., Huffington Post
     Aug 18, 2017 - By Hugh Cortazzi , The Japan Times
     May 15, 2017 - Brian Klass, USA Today
     April 26, 2017 - Slate Staff
     March 10, 2017 - Brian Klass, Washington Post


May 27, 2018 - By Lauren Strayer
Our special projects to defend democracy: Democracy Fund
Democracy Fund is committed to supporting a resilient, diverse, democratic society that respects the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of each individual, and empowers us all to pursue and achieve the common good. 
We envision a country in which Americans actively participate in our democracy and have the information needed to hold our leaders accountable. And in which Americans are confident that their voices are heard and that democratic institutions are faithfully and effectively serving the nation’s best interests.
Since our creation in 2011, we have pursued this vision by investing in people and organizations across the political spectrum who are working to ensure we have modern elections, effective governance, and a vibrant public square. …
… In response, we have launched four special projects over the last two years — committing $24 million in grantmaking for 2017-2018 — to defend and strengthen democracy. Following Democracy Fund’s established grantmaking criteria, these four new special projects focus on supporting people and institutions under attack, and helping our civic and political leaders to better understand the long-standing trends in public opinion that have produced today’s politics. …

May 22, 2018 - By Travis Gettys / Raw Story
Republicans Are Helping Trump Attack Democratic Principles to 'Save The President’s Skin': Foreign Policy Expert
“They’re orchestrating a political campaign to politicize the rule of law in America, and they’re trying to do it to save the president’s skin,” Klaas said. “Even if it means hurting American national security, even if it means eroding democratic principles and institutions and even if it means sacrificing their own personal integrity that they tried to build for their careers.”
Klaas, a Washington Post columnist and a fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, compared Trump’s democratic abuses to Erdo─čan’s attacks on the rule of law after his 2014 election as Turkish president. …

May 16, 2018 - By Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer
Why Trump’s Assault on Democracy Doesn’t Bother the Radical Left

… Drawing on the findings of political scientists who have studied democratic governments, and how they can collapse into authoritarianism, the democracy movement has sought to build cross-partisan coalitions to prevent Trump from perverting or suborning government institutions into instruments of unaccountable power. The democracy movement has drawn the predictable scorn of right-wing outlets, which have cheered on his grossest violations.
At the same time it has also come under criticism from a somewhat more surprising source: left-wing intellectuals, who have treated the democracy movement and its underlying analysis with withering contempt.

April 25, 2018 - Jay Rosen, New York Book Review

There is alive in the land an organized campaign to discredit the American press. This campaign is succeeding. Its roots are long. For decades, the Republican coalition has tried to hang together by hating on elites who claim to know things, like: “What is art?” Or: “What should college students be taught?” Or: “What counts as news?”
The media wing of this history extends back to Barry Goldwater’s campaign in 1964. It passes through Spiro Agnew’s speeches for Richard Nixon in 1969, and winds forward to our own time through William Rusher’s 1988 book, The Coming Battle for the Media, the growth of conservative talk radio in the 1990s, and the spectacular success of the Fox News Channel, which found a lucrative business model in resentment news, culture war, and the battle cry of liberal bias.
Donald Trump is both the apotheosis of this history and its accelerant. …

April 13, 2018 - Evan McMullin
An Attack on the Rule of Law
President Trump’s attacks on American institutions are forcing a fight for the integrity of our system of self-rule.

… For now, the main defense of the rule of law remains an implied red line.
That line, narrowly drawn around a single man, is insufficient to uphold the rule of law when challenged by the nation’s chief executive. Trump’s latest Twitter outbursts reflect the various vectors at his disposal to halt, limit, or otherwise undermine the integrity of Mueller’s investigation into Moscow’s attacks on the American political system and the possible involvement of the Trump campaign. …

April 4, 2018 - by Darrell M. West and Jack Karsten
Views of American democracy based on internet search data

In this paper, we look at views of U.S. democracy using internet search data. We examine public interest in democracy, fake news, money in politics, ethics concerns, the rule of law, and major political institutions in order to gauge how Americans are reacting to recent developments. This report is the second in a series of big data analysis that charts long-term trends in online search activity. Our first report focused on views about Donald Trump in his first year as president.[5]

April 3, 2018 - Cass R. Sunstein, Bloomberg View 

For the first time since the 1940s, Americans have been asking: Can it happen here?
The question, which has been debated in the U.S. for months, is meant to draw attention to the potential fragility of democratic self-government — and to emphasize that in some periods, democracies are especially likely to turn in authoritarian directions. …

Even if Americans need not worry about authoritarianism as such, however, the current period does justify serious concern.

1) History teaches that even in the United States, serious abridgments of civil rights and civil liberties are possible, at least when national security is threatened.
2) Russia has reportedly obtained the capacity to interfere with our electoral processes — not only through the use of social media to intensify social divisions and to promote its favored candidates, but also by targeting voting machinery. In addition, Russian hackers are even attacking our sources of power and water. …
3) One of the most striking lessons of the rise of fascism in the 1930s is that many citizens were simply living their lives — focusing on their families, their friends, their jobs. They liked the fact that the economy was improving. They did not embrace authoritarianism as such. But they did not do anything to stop it.
4) President Trump has successively attacked institutions, both public and private, that do not bend to his will. So far, the attacks have generally taken the form of words rather than deeds. But delegitimizing independent institutions can weaken structural constraints on leaders — and ultimately compromise democratic values.
5) The Trump administration has been intensifying partisan divisions, with the president himself calling for criminal prosecution of political adversaries and demonizing those who disagree with him on matters of policy. …

February 23, 2018 - By John Shattuck, American Prospect

Alexis de Tocqueville observed in 1835 that “the greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” Tocqueville’s observation, broadly accurate over the past two centuries, is facing perhaps its most severe test today.
In its 2016 “Democracy Index” report, the Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded the United States from a “full” to a “flawed democracy.” In 2018, Freedom House offered a more dire assessment: “[D]emocratic institutions have suffered erosion, as reflected in partisan manipulation of the electoral process, bias and dysfunction in the criminal justice system, and growing disparities in wealth, economic opportunity, and political influence.”
Declining participation and confidence in government are not new, but the populist forces that propelled the election of Donald Trump signaled a new level of public disillusionment with democratic politics and institutions. …

February 15, 2018 - John Shattuck, Amanda Watson, Matthew McDole
Trump's First Year: How Resilient is Liberal Democracy in the US?

In its 2016 “Democracy Index” report, the Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded the United States from a “full” to a “flawed democracy”. The report cited “an erosion of trust in political institutions” as the primary reason for the downgrade.1 In January 2018 Freedom House offered an equally dire assessment: “democratic institutions in the US have suffered erosion, as reflected in partisan manipulation of the electoral process . . . and growing disparities in wealth, economic opportunity and political influence. …

February 8, 2018 - Congressman Ted Lieu
Trump doesn't understand that the freedom to protest is fundamental to our democracy
The right to disagree with the president is necessary for a free nation. The demand to celebrate him is not.

Before I could become a military officer or a Member of Congress, I was required to do one thing: Take an oath to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights is a remarkable document because it weaves into the fabric of our democracy the idea that government has a responsibility to protect individual liberty. That notion was radical at the time, but laid the foundation for us to be the "shining 'city on a hill'" that we are today.
President Trump’s suggestion that it was treason not to applaud him during his recent State of the Union address makes it clear that Trump fundamentally doesn’t understand what it means to be an American, let alone a patriotic one. …

February 8, 2018 - Bright Line Watch

In January 2018, as Donald Trump completed his first year as president, Bright Line Watch conducted its fourth expert survey on the state of U.S. democracy. At the same time, we conducted an identical public survey – our second – with a nationally representative sample of Americans. This approach allows us to assess whether experts and/or the public believe the quality of democracy has changed in the U.S. during President Trump’s tenure. 
We also asked respondents to rate the overall quality of democracy in a dozen other countries, including Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, allowing us to assess how experts and the public believe America stacks up against other countries. Finally, we disaggregate results from our public survey to see how changes in these perceptions vary by approval of Trump.
The overall picture is sobering. …
The figure below illustrates the distribution of responses on each principle among experts. …

February 6, 2018 - By Michael Finnegan
Trump attacks on Russia investigation threaten U.S. democracy, authors say

As scholars who study the death of democracies around the globe, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt saw Donald Trump's rise to power as an alarming sign of dangerous times ahead for the United States.
The two professors of government at Harvard University found parallels with fascism in Germany and Italy before World War II and with Latin America's long struggle with dictatorships. …
In the United States, they argue in their new book, "How Democracies Die," the threat comes not from a military coup, but from a duly elected leader who, like former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, subverts democratic institutions one step at a time in a steady march to autocracy.
"We must be aware of the fateful missteps that have wrecked other democracies," they write. …

February 3, 2017 - Rob Wijnberg 

Our news system has fundamental weaknesses, and we’re paying the price like never before. In the past, we could afford to watch the nightly headlines, give a slightly cynical shrug, and then get on with our evening.
Today, though, the price of our media-cultivated apathy has grown dangerously high. Our hard-won fundamental rights and freedoms are in peril. If we aren’t careful, the news could be the burial ground for democracy. And the epitaph will be “We could have known, if journalism had only told us.” …

In a changing climate, news is a weather report.
The eternal question: How did we miss this?
The deadly event that’s happening now
Step 1: Threaten the free press and sow doubt about what’s true
Step 2: Dismantle the government and install a kleptocracy
How the news cycle keeps us numb
Four ways we can make journalism serve democracy

January 1, 2018 - By Jeffrey H. Smith, Lawfare
Trump and Government (Dis-)Service

Many of Trump’s stated policy objectives enjoy wide support: bolstering the economy, bringing jobs back to this country, tax reform and infrastructure investment. There is, however, also much opposition to some aspects of his agenda. 
On foreign policy, there is widespread bipartisan dismay at his rejection of 70 years of support for the liberal international world order that, however imperfect, has kept us strong and secure. Moves such as his uncertain support of the basic tenets of NATO, his rejection of the Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (with nothing in return) explain why many in the national security community question his understanding of U.S. interests and how to protect them.
At home, his lack of outrage at Russian interference in the 2016 election is indefensible. His firing of James Comey as FBI director and subsequent actions raise credible concerns that he has engaged in criminal obstruction of justice to protect himself and family members. His insistence that the Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is a “witch hunt” is unfounded. His unprecedented criticism of the FBI is a thinly veiled effort to intimidate agents who are investigating key members of his campaign and family. His criticism of the intelligence community when he disagrees with assessments are cause for grave concern. 
The courts, law enforcement departments and intelligence agencies are staffed by public servants who commit to assuring the health of our democracy. The basic foundation of that duty is independence; it is necessary that they are insulated from political influence. When that independence is threatened by bullying from the White House, in my experience the men and women who have sworn to defend the Constitution do not buckle under. They have not pledged supine fealty to a feudal liege and they dig in harder to do their duty.  …

January 27, 2018 - Jill Abramson, The Guardian
Trump's attack on the FBI is an attack on the US constitution itself

Since his election, revelations of Donald Trump’s contempt for the legal process have been dizzying. The rule of law is what protects democracy in the United States. The president has done everything possible to subvert it.
There was the White House counsel’s failed effort last March to convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the Russia inquiry. Then came the stunning news that the very same counsel, Donald F McGahn II, threatened to quit if the president fired special counsel Robert Mueller last June. Then there was the president’s grilling of acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, including asking him whom he had voted for in 2016.
Where’s my Roy Cohn?” Trump reportedly wailed when his attorney general, a key actor in the Russia-infected presidential campaign, recused himself. The president was invoking the name of his disgraced fixer, long dead, a lawyer who was discredited for aiding Joseph McCarthy and disbarred for unethical conduct.
Where is my Congress? This is the urgent question posed by these outrageous attempts by the president to subvert the constitution. The legislative branch of government must hold an out-of-control president with authoritarian tendencies accountable.
Neither the news media nor Robert Mueller can do this alone. …

January 18, 2018 -
American Democracy One Year into the Trump Administration 
{Ensuring the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”}

Yesterday, Protect Democracy and Stand Up Ideas released a report called The Republic At Risk: American Democracy One Year Into The Trump Administration. The report asks and attempts to answer a simple, yet critical question: How are America's democratic institutions holding up? If you're interested in the future and fate of American democracy in the age of Trump, read the full report here.  Following below is the executive summary.  …

January 16, 2018 - Tracey Lee, Newsweek

President Donald Trump has rapidly accelerated an assault on democracy in the United States and around the world, a report from a non-partisan global watchdog group has found …

January 16, 2018 - By Zachary Cohen, CNN

… On the international stage, the report said that the administration has abdicated the US's traditional role as a "leading champion of democracy" and opened the door for repressive nations like China and Russia to extend their global influence. …
Last week, Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin released a report that concluded the US will not be prepared to defend against possible Russian meddling in the 2018 midterm elections or the 2020 presidential contest unless it takes action now.
Titled "Putin's Asymmetrical Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security,”* the report draws from European experience to outline ways in which Russia's "malign influence operations" can be deterred. …

January 3, 2018 - Gary Grappo, Fair Observer
Extinguishing the World’s Oldest Democratic Project

What is happening to America’s democracy?
Under the presidency of Donald Trump, America’s most venerable institutions have been compromised or attacked and its values questioned. The assertion seems risible: the United States, the world’s lone superpower, the most powerful military in the world, the world’s oldest democracy with multi-layered, carefully developed institutions purposely designed to nurture and protect its democracy? Who could even think the possibility? It’s absurd.
But let’s consider. Let’s look at those institutions, starting with the largest and purportedly soundest, the American public. …

What about America’s free media? 
What about the Congress, …?
Anyone setting out to undermine America’s democracy must still contend with a range of other institutional roadblocks. For example, there is the country’s many intelligence institutions tasked with protecting the US against enemies, both foreign and domestic. Trump’s distaste for bona fide CIA briefings and analyses, and outright dismissal of the world’s finest intelligence organization, are well known by now. What they say, apparently, does not accord with what he prefers to believe.
Now, according to a BuzzFeed report, the Trump White House is entertaining proposals by private companies to create a special spy network that will use contractors. …
Weakening of other institutions has also appeared. The Environmental Protections Agency, the Census Bureau, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department have all seen significant reductions in resources and changes in leadership, rendering their previous missions to serve and protect the American people much diminished. Actions against the Census Bureau are particularly disturbing as its 2020 census will be a major determining factor in future elections and apportioning congressional seats. Minorities and lower income Americans are particularly likely to suffer from an inaccurate census.
The independent judiciary is seen as a core element of America’s democratic system, …
The weakening of America’s many vaunted institutions of democracy, honed through the experiences and sacrifices of millions of loyal and committed Americans since the nation’s founding, raises another disturbing specter: Once people lose confidence and trust in their institutions, even the most venerated, they start to question the values these institutions represent. …

The tally after one year

American democracy is resilient.
It has withstood attacks from enemies, both foreign and domestic, for more than two centuries.
But never has the United States been led by a president who has so flagrantly lied and so incessantly debased our democratic values and our institutions of self-government as President Donald J. Trump.
We know of no president in the history of the country, other than Donald Trump, who has:
Told more than 2,100 lies, false and misleading statements and untruths in his first year in office, an average of nearly 5.9 per day;
Attacked the media as an “enemy of the American people,” placing Trump in direct conflict with founders John Adams and Thomas Jefferson;
Attacked his own law enforcement and intelligence agencies;
Attacked our strongest foreign allies while embracing our major foreign adversaries;
Sided with a major adversary over the consensus views of his own intelligence agencies;
Attacked the FBI as the “worst in history,” and accused an FBI agent of “treason” for the “crime” of making negative comments about him;
Asserted an “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department,” a right Trump does not have;
Attacked the entire court system as “broken and unfair”;
Attacked judges repeatedly for decisions which he disagreed with;
Refused to divest his vast business holdings, leaving him with massive conflicts of interest and major Emolument Clause problems;
Falsely claimed that millions of individuals voted illegally in the presidential election to explain losing the popular election by nearly 2.9 million votes.
In the one year since he swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, President Trump’s failures on government integrity and accountability continue to reach new lows. Rarely has a day gone by when he has not egregiously broken from democratic norms and the values that are central to building trust in our government.
The lies, false and misleading statements and untruths continue unabated. President Trump even lies when the truth will serve, as the saying goes. At the same time, Trump has purposefully attacked and sought to undermine the institutions responsible for holding him accountable: the other two constitutionally embedded branches of government – the courts and the Congress – and the media.
Given the chaotic and erratic nature of President Trump and his administration, it is easy for Americans to become overwhelmed. Some of Trump’s wrongful actions have been high-profile; others are more subtle. But President Trump’s record must be preserved and documented. That is the purpose of this report.
The report sets forth twenty examples that demonstrate President Trump’s historic first year failure on issues of government integrity, transparency, and accountability.

 ~~~ 2017 ~~~

December 29, 2017 - By Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker
Democracy and Facts in the Age of Trump 

Bernard Avishai writes about the perception of facts and Democracy in the ... of the institutions that guarantee such principles: “They can see how the ... sure that government agencies “do not monitor, attack, or punish political …
… . A little arithmetic, and one is left wondering: if a third of the experts don’t think that a general agreement on the facts is crucial to liberal democracy, what do they suppose that freedom of speech is for? …

December 12, 2017 - Daily Kos
Trump is actively trying to destroy our democratic institutions.

The evidence is clear that Trump is actively working to undermine our free press, electoral process, justice department, judicial system, intelligence community, alliances and democratic institutions worldwide. …  Here’s a rundown. 

December 7, 2017 - By Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt , The New Republic
How a Democracy Dies
Donald Trump’s contempt for American political institutions is only the latest chapter in a history of opportunistic attacks against them.
By and large, however, overt dictatorships have disappeared across much of the world. Violent seizures of power are rare. But there’s another way to break a democracy: not at the hands of generals, but of elected leaders who subvert the very process that brought them to power.  …
How vulnerable is American democracy to such a fate? Extremist demagogues emerge from time to time in all societies, even in healthy democracies. An essential test of this kind of vulnerability isn’t whether such figures emerge but whether political leaders, and especially political parties, work to prevent them from gaining power. When established parties opportunistically invite extremists into their ranks, they imperil democracy.
Once a would-be authoritarian makes it to power, democracies face a second critical test: Will the autocratic leader subvert democratic institutions or be constrained by them? …

December 6, 2017 - By Scott Bolden, The Hill

From freedom of the press to separation of powers, the years-long erosion of America’s democratic institutions has many voicing their concerns. As the country gears up for elections in 2018 and 2020, it’s time to restore faith in a bedrock principle of American politics that is under serious threat: reliable election results and the peaceful transference of power.
Controversies surrounding the 2016 election gave people across the political spectrum reason to distrust the integrity of America’s democratic process. President Trump undermined our elections during his final days as a candidate, when he claimed that if he lost to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, it could be the result of a widespread conspiracy. Mounting evidence of Russian interference, disinformation campaigns, and collusion with the Trump campaign has given many who oppose the president reason to doubt the election results as well. …

November 30, 2017 - By Thomas B. Edsall, The New York Times
Opinion | The Self-Destruction of American Democracy 

President Trump has single-handedly done more to undermine the basic tenets of American democracy than any foreign agent or foreign propaganda campaign could.
“Trump is a political weapon of mass self-destruction for American democracy — for its norms, for its morality, for sheer human decency,” Henry Aaron, a senior fellow at Brookings, wrote by email:
So if Putin backed him, and if he did it to damage the United States, then he dropped one extremely smart bomb in the middle of Washington.
For the moment, let’s put aside the conclusion of “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” the F.B.I., C.I.A. and N.S.A. joint report that was released in January, which said that:
The Kremlin sought to advance its longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, the promotion of which Putin and other senior Russian leaders view as a threat to Russia and Putin’s regime.
This determination, disputed by Trump and others, pales in comparison to the ruinous record of Trump’s 10 months in office.

November 10, 2017 - Brian Klass, The Hill
Trump steadily eroding democracy

A year after Trump won the election, it’s worth asking the question: Will democracy outlast Trump?
Ronald Reagan once said that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” He was right, and we, in the Trump era, are the generation that Reagan was unwittingly speaking about. 
Trump is precisely the kind of demagogue that the founders of America’s democratic republic worried about. They designed a system that anticipated someone like Trump. But his authoritarian instincts and impulses still pose a serious threat to the integrity of our democratic system of government. 
The danger, unfortunately, is real. …

September 6, 2017 - Carnegie Endowment
Democracy Promotion Under Trump: What Has Been Lost? What Remains?

Even keeping this cautionary reality fully in mind, the approach of President Trump is a startling and dispiriting deviation from the sustained bipartisan consensus that democracy and human rights can and should both figure prominently in U.S. foreign policy and largely reinforce rather than conflict with U.S. economic and security interests. 
Trump’s enthusiasm for repressive strongmen, open disdain for the idea of the United States as a model for others, and heedless trampling of democratic norms at home have put the country in a much worse place on democracy and rights than it has been for many decades. 
His words and actions have thrilled and emboldened autocrats all around the world while demoralizing pro-democratic activists struggling against repression and democratic backsliding in many countries. And they have stunned many partners in Europe and elsewhere who are part of the democracy promotion endeavor, making them question the value and even the possibility of continuing to cooperate with the United States on these issues.
All is not lost. …

September 5, 2017 - By Dr. Benjamin Knoll, Ph.D.

The Republican Party no longer prioritizes the promotion of liberal democracy either at home or abroad.
I do not make this claim lightly. I have a professional obligation as a political scientist to strive for impartiality and even-handedness when it comes to partisan politics. At the same time, I also have an obligation to aim for objectivity and accuracy. 
As has been argued by Jennifer Victor, evaluating the extent to which something strengthens or weakens liberal democracy is not a partisan activity, but analogous to a doctor diagnosing a disease. (It is important to note that in this sense “liberal” does not mean what we usually think about when we talk about “liberals vs. conservatives,” but rather a form of democracy premised on the classical liberal Enlightenment tradition of limited government, rule of law, protection of civil liberties, etc.)
In years past, Republican presidents and elected officials have proudly promoted liberal democracy around the world. …

Aug 18, 2017 - BY Hugh Cortazzi , The Japan Times
American democracy under assault 

The recent racist demonstration in Charlottesville and the murder and injury inflicted on protesters against white supremacists reflects the recrudescence of racism among a group of white supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump. 
His failure for the first 48 hours to condemn evil white supremacists and racists caused much disquiet even in Republican circles. Trump as a consequence felt forced to read out a teleprompt condemnation but almost immediately contradicted himself in truly Trumpian manner and language.
This immediately raised doubts about whether he was himself a white racist. …

May 15, 2017 - Brian Klass, USA Today

In 2014, Turkey’s authoritarian president fired four prosecutors who were leading an investigation into an alleged corruption scandal involving the president himself. The interference was blatant. The intent was clear. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted the corruption scandal to disappear. It was technically within his authority, but there was widespread outcry that the rule of law was under attack. In response, Erdogan claimed he was the victim of a widespread conspiracy by his political rivals. Then, he threatened his opponents.
And he got away with it.
It's hard not to see parallels with President Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey. In ousting the man leading the FBI investigation into Trump team ties and possible collusion with Russia, Trump behaved like a strongman. The only open question is whether the democratic institutions of the United States will fight back in a way they were unable to in Turkey. …

April 26, 2017 - Slate Staff

Our political institutions were shaped from their inception by the fear that self-government could degenerate into the tyranny of the majority—or allow a leader to gain absolute power. As a result, we now have considerable political resources to oppose Donald Trump: The system of checks and balances, outlined in high-school social studies classes in a tone of vacuous admiration, was put in place for this very moment.
But the Founding Fathers recognized that a carefully drafted Constitution could never defend itself; at best, it could empower its defenders. In any moment of peril, the survival of the republic would be up to the American people. Are we meeting this test?
There are some bad signs. Although unpopular, Donald Trump retains the backing of a vast swath of the population. We are as far from a national consensus about the danger he represents as we were a few months ago.
But there are also some good signs. …

March 10, 2017 - Brian Klass
How President Trump has already hurt American democracy — in just 50 days

Since his inauguration on Jan. 20, Trump has governed in a way that poses a unique threat to the integrity of American democracy.
Democracy is bigger than partisanship. Therefore, this is not a critique of Trump’s policy proposals. Rather, it’s a sober assessment of American democracy at a pivotal moment — and a call for Americans of all political stripes to press all politicians to agree, at minimum, on preserving the bedrock principles that make the United States a democracy.
The call is urgent. In just 50 days, Trump’s presidency has already threatened American democracy in six fundamental ways:
1) Trump has attacked the integrity of voting, the foundation of all democratic systems. Without any evidence, …
2) After attacking the integrity of his own election, Trump has also undermined the credibility of his own office. …
3) Trump’s administration has repeatedly flouted ethics guidelines without consequence.  …
4) Trump has attacked the independent judiciary. 
5) Crucially, Trump has accelerated a long-term trend, prodding tens of millions of Americans to further lose faith in basic institutions of American government. Any experts in federal agencies are now the “deep state.”
6) Finally, Trump has attacked a cornerstone of every democracy: the free press. He has called legitimate media organizations “fake news” no fewer than 22 times on Twitter in the first 50 days — and many more times in speeches. Worse, Trump called the press the “enemy of the American People,” language that echoes Mao and Stalin …

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